Who Will Take Home The Glory In The MLB Playoffs?

Dylan Epstein, Contributing Writer

Although the regular season feels like it just started, the MLB playoffs are almost here.  This year’s new 60 game season, which was shortened due to the pandemic, is quickly coming to an end with the standings extremely close and each team fighting for a spot in the postseason.  There have been unexpected teams making their way to the top of the rankings, rookies and second year players proving themselves, and superstar pitchers taking advantage of fewer starts.  This season has been a wild one and it’s only getting crazier as it continues.

This year’s playoff format is looking a lot different and is giving teams a greater chance of playing in Oct.  Instead of the previous ten team format with five teams coming out of the American and National Leagues, 16 teams will make the playoffs with eight coming out of each league.  Additionally, the teams are now seeded by their record and not by winning their division.  This is a major change because teams with a better record than a team that wins in another division aren’t forced to play in a single elimination wild card game.

With a little under a week to go, the playoff picture is becoming a lot clearer.  So far, the Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, and Oakland Athletics have punched their tickets for a spot in the AL postseason.  In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs have all claimed their spots as well.  All of these teams have been dominant throughout the season and there is no question as to how they earned  top spots.  

With the current standings, the Astros and Blue Jays will fill the remaining AL spots in the playoffs.  For the NL, the Marlins, Cardinals, Brewers, and Reds are all projected to make the playoffs.  The Reds pitching staff has been impeccable all year with Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray having Cy Young worthy seasons combined with enough runs for them to win.  However, the Giants and Phillies are only a game or two back from the eighth seed in the NL and could take the last spot.  

“I have a feeling that the Giants will jump into the playoffs over the Reds because Johnny Cueto has been pitching really well this season and Mike Yastrzemski has been demolishing the opposing pitchers.  Also, the Giants’ addition of Evan Longoria and their role players, Donovan Solano and Brandon Belt, have also been killing it at the plate,” said sophomore Zac Silfin.   

Baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, “It’s not over until it’s over,” and this is an apt expression as to how the MLB postseason race is going to play out.

While the playoff picture is still uncertain, the Dodgers remain the favorite for the World Series.  With the acquisition of all-star Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox this past offseason, the Dodgers lineup is filled with players who can hit home runs and consistently get on base.  In addition to their stellar lineup, the Dodgers pitching rotation is one of the best in the game, highlighted by former Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw and rising star Walker Buehler.  The Dodgers came close to winning the World Series in 2018 and there is a very good chance that they win it all this year.

Despite the Dodgers being almost unstoppable this year, there are some other teams that may shock fans. 

“I think the Marlins are the underdog to win the World Series and here is why:  the two times that they have made the playoffs in franchise history, they ended up winning the World Series.  Also, anything can happen in baseball,” said junior Michael Andrew.  

Not only will the Marlins be a team to look out for, but also the Padres will be as well.  Second year star Fernado Tatis Jr. has put up MVP-like numbers along with superstar Manny Machado who has been fantastic at third base.  They make the Padres nearly unstoppable.  The Padres are a team that likes to come from behind. 

Many players have been doing extremely well this season.  The Most Valuable Player award (MVP) is given to the best performing player, the Cy Young award is given to the best pitcher, and the Rookie of the Year is given to the best rookie.  The frontrunners for MVP this season are Fernado Tatis Jr. (SD) and Mookie Betts (LAD) in the NL and Mike Trout (LAA) and Shane Beiber (CLE) in the AL.  In addition to possibly winning the MVP, Shane Beiber (CLE) will most likely win the AL Cy Young, while the NL Cy Young could either go to Trevor Bauer (CIN), Jacob DeGrom (NYM), or Yu Darvish (CHC).  

“With my unbiased opinion since I’m a Yankees fan, I think that Jacob DeGrom will win the award for the third year in a row because he is at the top of his game right now and no one else is better than him,” said sophomore Ryan Gawley.  

Many rookies have been outstanding in their first year of the big leagues, but Luis Robert (CWS) in the AL and Jake Cronenworth (SD) in the NL will probably take home the hardware for Rookie of the Year. 

With the playoffs right around the corner and the award results coming up, MLB fans are at the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens.  The season almost didn’t happen this year, but fans are lucky it did because it’s been one to watch.